10 things you should know about the Netherlands
Surely you’ve heard about the Netherlands and what it’s famous for, but there are many reasons as to why this country has one of the highest number of international students! There are 10 things you need to know about studying in the Netherlands:
1. Everyone speaks English
Although the official language is Dutch, almost 95% of the population speaks English. Therefore, not knowing Dutch isn’t an issue! Learning Dutch is difficult because the Dutch people are eager to speak English. There isn’t a language barrier, and this makes life more comfortable for those coming from another country. As nervous as you might be, the people in Holland welcome all internationals and you can easily have interesting conversations with the locals.
2. The Dutch are very straightforward
The Dutch have a direct communication style - speaking openly and without confusion. This can be misinterpreted as impolite at times, especially if one is not used to frankness. Direct communication, on the other hand, is regarded as a highly valued type of openness among the Dutch.
3. Gateway to Europe
HZ University of Applied Sciences is nearby all the quirky European cities! Referring to its central geographic and economic position in central Europe, the Netherlands is often described as the gateway to Europe. It takes only about an hour to fly from Amsterdam to Paris, Berlin, Venice, or London. It’s also possible to go away for the weekend with your friends and drive up to different cities within a few hours!
The international atmosphere makes you feel right at home! Without a doubt, you would find people from your home country, but you also encounter a variety of cultures. There are 143 different nationalities that live in this country, and everyone is equal! Meeting different people is a way to build a network, work on your communication skills and learn about different ethnicities, so it’s very useful for when you work in companies. It’s also an advantage to make friends from different parts of the world, so you can go visit their hometown.
5. Export products
Did you know Dutch design and dance music are our number 1 export products? Electronic dance music, or EDM, is the most popular genre in the Netherlands. Dance music by DJs like Afrojack, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, and Martin Garrix (my personal favourite) account for about 75% of foreign revenue.
6. WE LOVE ORANGE
The Dutch don’t let any opportunity pass by to dress up in the colour orange. If you're unfamiliar with King's Day, it's a Dutch national holiday in which the entire country dresses in orange, drinks beer, and celebrates the birthday of the king. And boy, do they have a good time! The legendary William of Orange, who was anointed Prince of Orange in 1544, started the dynasty. The colour orange became a symbol of the Dutch Royal family under his rule.
7. Bike path
Cycling is very popular in the Netherlands because of the flat landscape, the Dutch prefer it over driving cars. Not only does it help the environment but it’s good exercise too! The bike paths are very well structured and stretches to 35,000 km so technically it’s like taking a bike ride 3 times around the moon. The Netherlands' infrastructure is designed with bicycles in mind, making it a safe mode of transportation.
As mentioned previously, the Dutch love riding bikes and as of 2019, it was estimated that the Netherlands had roughly 22.9 million bicycles around the country, including 2.4 million electric bicycles. In the Netherlands, about one million bicycles are sold each year. This means the kingdom of cyclists has the highest bike density in the world: each of the, approximately, 17 million Dutch people own an average of 1.3 bicycles.
70% of the top ten sunniest years are now from this century. Vlissingen has the most sunshine in the Netherlands, with an average of 1536 sun hours a year! In 2020, Vlissingen was the sunniest place with about 2135 hours of sunshine and figures from Weeronline show that 2020 was the third sunniest year on record. The first two were in 2003 and 2018.
Having a beach is already an asset of living in Vlissingen, but what makes it even better is the number of bars around the beach area. There are approximately 25 bars, that’s quite a lot for a small city.
Here were 10 things to know about the Netherlands, I hope this has made you more curious for more information about studying in the Netherlands. Here is an infographic that helps you visualise all these wonderful facts.
We have created an online magazine where the Dutch Education System is explained so you are well informed while you make your decision. Hope to welcome you soon 😊